Non-Profit Pays! Letts’ Turn to Politics. #Stageworthy News of the Week

André Bishop, head of Lincoln Center Theater: $1 million
Todd Haimes, Roundabout: $922,000.
Oskar Eustis the Public Theater: $659,000
Lynne Meadows, MTC: $565,000
Carole Rothman, Second Stage $191,000
James Nicola, New York Theatre Workshop: $178,000

These are the latest known annual compensation for the artistic heads of NYC non-profit theaters, compiled by Philip Boroff in Broadway Journal, who judiciously explains the artistic and financial accomplishments of each, and points out their sacrifices: Rothman’s salary represents a 50 percent paycut from her previous annual compensation while fundraising for the Hayes.

“Not-for-profit leaders forego the potential windfall that commercial producers earn from a blockbuster, in favor of a job with steady income. Yet some company trustees and foundation leaders privately call the biggest nonprofit packages excessive, the appearance of which can deter donors.”

 

November Theater Openings

October Quiz

 

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Hamnet

William Shakespeare’s only son, named Hamnet, died when he was 11 years old; a few years later, the playwright wrote “Hamlet.”  The Irish theater troupe Dead Centre conjures up the Bard’s boy in the hour-long “Hamnet,” a whimsical, tender, technically innovative avant-garde play that features an extraordinary performance by a 12-year-old named Aran Murphy.

He Did What?

a ten-minute animated opera that was projected for free onto the wall of BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp building nightly from 7 to 10 p.m

Seared

Theresa Rebeck’s slight but savory comedy  about  running a restaurant stars Raúl Esparza as Harry, a hilariously mercurial chef-owner of a hole-in-the-wall eatery  that’s become the latest foodie destination. A blurb in New York Magazine has praised Harry’s ginger lemongrass scallops dish, so now the customers are flocking to the place and clamoring for the dish.

But Harry refuses to make it anymore.

“I’m not feeling the scallops,” he says.

Freestyle Love Supreme

Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip-hop improv group,is not so much Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway follow-up to “Hamilton” as it is a subsidiary of Lin-Manuel Inc. …It is designed to feel good-natured and informal, like friends sitting around a dorm room at Wesleyan, even though there are 766 of us and we’re at the Booth Theater…That goodwill goes a long way.

Fear

Two adults are standing over a teenager named Jamie who is tied to a chair. Phil, a plumber, has kidnapped Jamie, and dragged him into this abandoned tool shed in the woods outside Princeton, New Jersey. Ethan, a professor, is trying to rescue Jamie…An eight-year-old girl from the neighborhood is missing, and Phil (Enrico Colantoni, who plays the genial father in Veronica Mars), has reason to suspect that Jamie (Alexander Garfin) has something to do with it.  Or does he?…A play that requires a vigorous suspension of disbelief. Yet, if you can get over that hurdle, it offers three good actors constantly playing with our perspective – not only about who did what but such issues as moral relativism, class tensions, and…fear

 

The Sound Inside

“The Sound Inside” is a dark drama by Adam Rapp that keeps us in the dark, literally and figuratively, which works better while watching it on stage than thinking about it afterwards. Mary-Louise Parker portrays a middle-aged Yale professor named Bella Lee Baird, who prefers literature to life, and expects to die soon; she tells us she’s been diagnosed with cancer. Bella slowly develops a friendship with 18-year-old Christopher Dunn (Will Hochman), one of the students in her course…They turn out to share a taste in books, especially dark tales like Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” which is one of so many book titles name-dropped during the course of the play that the script could serve as a reading list (which I include in the review.)

Monsoon Season

Lizzie Vieh’s black comedy about a divorced couple permanently underwater in Phoenix Arizona, is clever and merciless, but it is also oddly compassionate….Danny and his ex-wife Julia may be losers who constantly make laughably wrong choices, but they are trying to do right, to be better.

The Week in New York Theater News

“The Minutes,” Tracy Letts’ most political play to date, will have its first preview on February 25, as this cryptic e-mail revealed. No theater or cast have been announced. The play, which premiered at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago in 2017, is about a City Council meeting in the fictional town called Big Cherry that turns ominous. Letts began work on it before the 2016 election,

“The play is not about Trump or Trumpism — I don’t find him a particularly complicated figure — but it is about this contentious moment we’re having in American politics in the last few years,”

Andrew Garfield will star in the Netflix adaptation of Rent playwright Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical tick…tick…BOOM, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

 

 

Lear deBessonet will lead Encores!  starting officially in the 2021 season, succeeding Jack Viertel

Samira Wiley and Dominic Fumusa will star In Molière in the Park‘s “The School for Wives” in Prospect Park, November 13 and 14 FREE.

 

Thomas Finkelpearl is leaving his job as cultural affairs commissioner after five years. “The timing of it is suspect,” councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, chair of the city council’s cultural affairs committee, told NY1. Some speculate he’s unfairly taking the fall for the various controversies and glitches over the city’s plan to build more statues honoring women and people of color. Finkelpearl helped spearhead the city’s efforts to tie its funding to the diversity of arts institutions’ employees and board members under the cultural plan, unveiled in 2017.

Idina Menzel, Lea Michele and Billy Porter will be among those performing at the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Remember when Billy Porter performed at the parade in 2013, as Lola in Kinky Boots?  and conservatives were outraged? Have times changed?

 

Times Square is presenting its first annual Show Globes, displaying giant snow globe-like sculptures of   Dear Evan HansenWickedAin’t Too Proud, and The Lion King. On Broadway Plaza in Times Square between 44th and 45th streets through December 26.

2020 Seasons

 

2020 Under the Radar Festival celebrates its 16th season with a line-up of groundbreaking artists across the U.S. and around the world, including Australia, Chile, China, Japan, Mexico, Palestine, Taiwan, and the UK.

92nd Street Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists

Yip Harburg
Jan 25-27
Jerry Herman
Feb 22-24
George Gershwin
March 21-23
Stephen Schwartz and Broadway’s Next Generation (featuring Schwartz and Ns Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich, John Bucchino, Khiyon Hursey)
April 18-20
George Abbott and the Making of the American Musical
May 30-June 1

 

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series

 

Andre De Shields January 29
Joe Iconis Feb 1
Ali Stroker Feb 28

 

 Theatre Row, a six-theatre complex located on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, has announced the Off-Off-Broadway companies that will be making work at its spaces, as part of the complex’s new Kitchen Sink Residency. The two-year program will give the companies space to develop new work, culminating in a three-week production run. The companies are the AssemblyBroken Box Mime TheaterLubDub Theatre CompanyNoor Theatre, and Superhero Clubhouse.

The Critic Unmellowed

From Wall Street Journal interview  with John Simon, 94:

“His penchant for criticizing actors’ and actresses’ physical traits —he once wrote unkindly about Liza Minnelli’s face, and another time about Barbra Streisand’s nose— has also helped to make him repugnant to the city’s cultural elite. He contended at the time, and again to me, that such criticism is entirely legitimate if a performer fails to transcend his or her defects of appearance by force of talent.” (How does one “transcend” one’s appearance?)

On how theater has not declined:

“Things were never very good,” he says.“I don’t really see a decline. Looking back into the past always makes the past look better than it actually was,and the present worse, perhaps, than it actually is. . . Out of, I don’t know how many plays open in a season —a lot of them anyway—there may be two or three even worth bothering with. It has always been so.”

 

Rest in Peace

Bernard Slade, 89, creator of the TV series “The Flying Nun” and “The Partridge Family,” but we know him as the Broadway playwright of “Same Time, Next Year,” a long-running and widely-produced stage comedy.

Ann Crumb, 69,  four-time Broadway veteran included in “Aspects of Love,” the first American actress chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber to originate a starring role.

Andile Gumbi , 36, former Simba of Broadway’s The Lion King. He died of cardiac arrest while in Israel , Gumbi was portraying the lead role of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel The Musical at the Jerusalem Theater.

A memorial for Eric LaJuan Summers will be held on Nov 4th, 2019 at 9:30pm at The Green Room 42 on W42nd Street & 10th Ave. Members of the Broadway community will be performing.

 

 

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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